I’m new to this bundt game. I have friends who love them but the tins are expensive and when i saw them in the US at a sensible price I couldn’t get them home for frear of racking up a huge amount of excess luggage fees. So, when I saw this beautiful tin in the sale at Lakeland I was able to treat myself.
I am now in love. The tin produced this most beautiful cake. I used a marbled bundt recipe from BBC Good Food and it was obviously for a slightly smaller tin than the one I have but nevertheless it it is a start. I shall now get on with creating some recipes of my own.
As I had also been sent a selection of Easter goodies to try by Sainsburys I used the Taste the Difference Swiss chocolate mini eggs in milk, dark and white chocolate to decorate the cake. . When looking up the price just now I discover they are on offer at two bags for £3. Bargain! I toyed with leaving them wrapped as they are lovely pastel foils but the teen rightly said that you’d want to eat the cake not pfaff with unwrapping the eggs!
The bundt was drizzled with a very simple glace icing and then the unwrapped solid eggs, milk, dark and white chocolate, were popped into the niches in the cakes surface. the hardening glace icing held the eggs in place
I do wish we could set up some kind of bundt tin lending library, then we could try all the different shapes without either taking out a mortgage to buy them or find cupboard space when we do succumb. I am very fearful this is the first tin of many!
Something about the Easter break raises my spirits. The lengthening of the days, the blooming of beautiful spring flowers and the fact that the whole time is less pressured than Christmas. The addition of chocolate into this mix does also make life better too.
How lovely then to receive a box of Easter treats from Sainsburys. My little ones are now in their very late teens so I have less of a panic about the whole of an Easter weekend becoming a blur of chocolate, sugar rushes and tummy aches. However I was very pleased to see a selection of lovely Easter gifts that were fun but not edible. My young niece and nephew will get these to play with later this week., (I will also get them chocolate too)!
For those of us with slightly better self control than a toddler where chocolate is concerned I loved the Belgian chocolate egglets. I’m saving the big egg for Easter Sunday itself and I’m sure there will be others willing to help me demolish it. I’m going to wash it down with my very own 20cl bottle of taste the difference conegliano prosecco (£3).
The raisin haters in my family loved the pack of Taste the Difference Double chocolate hot cross buns, (£1.20). They vanished before I could take a photo and have been put on my list for the next trip to the supermarket.
Thank you to Sainsburys for these goodies. Ill be back in a later post to tell you how I used those solid eggs above in a delicious recipe.
There are some kitchen chores that are just that, chores. Boring, repetitive but necessary. One task I really do love though is roasting red peppers. Something about turning those solid, shiny, blocky fruits into a soft, silky and really rather sexy versatile ingredient. The sweetness is intensified and the smokiness adds a real depth of flavour to any dish. I know you can buy jars of the things ready prepared but doing it yourself is so easy and the house smells wonderful too.
At about £1.60 for 6 of these sweet pointed peppers in Lidl these were a real bargain too.
Peppers any colour will do, a mixture gives a great colour lift to any dish.
- Place the peppers in a baking tin and drizzle with a little oil and a sprinkle of salt.
- You can roast these in the oven at 240c for 20 minutes or until the skin is blackened and blistered.
- Pop them under a grill, turning occasionally until the skin is blackened and blistered.
- Place on a BBQ, turning occasionally again until the skin is blackened and blistered.
- Pop the hot steamy peppers into a bowl and cover the top with cling film, this will trap the steam allowing the skin to slide off once the peppers are cooled.
- Once cooled peel off the skin and de seed. Use the flesh to fill a sandwich, to add garnish to a salad or some pizzaz to a bruschetta. The possibilities are endless.
- A glass of ice cold sherry and a plate of them as tapas is wonderful too.
- Try this recipe below if you are a hummus lover.
Red Pepper Hummus.
Two large red peppers roasted, peeled and deseeded,
1 x 410g can chickpeas
2 tablespoons light tahini
juice of a lemon
good pinch of Maldon salt
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic peeled and roughly chopped
- Reserve a couple of thin strips of pepper and a dessert spoon of chickpeas and put them to one side.
- Put all the ingredients into a blender or your choice – I use a big bowl and a stick blender.
- Scrape down and blitz again.
- Place in a bowl and scatter over the reserved red pepper strips and chick peas.
- Drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve with fresh pitta and crudities.
I have already said how lovely it was to receive a hamper full of goodies from Aldi to review for Easter. Even better that they gave cocktail and drinks pairings for each Easter treat.
Last night I sampled the dark chocolate marzipan egg that came in the hamper. At only 69p per 100g egg I wasn’t expecting too much but the chocolate was properly dark and the marzipan dense and toothsome.
The cocktail that was paired with the marzipan egg was a Black Forest Cocktail. Given the marzipan connection this might make a good cocktail to drink with a slice of Simnel cake too.
Black Forest Cocktail
45 ml Amaretto Liqueur
15 ml whiskey
20 ml double cream
20 ml morello cherry juice
Ground almonds, to rim the glass,
morello cherry and dark chocolate, to garnish.
- Using amaretto to wet the rim of the glass dip the rim of a Martini glass into ground almonds.
- Place all the ingredients except the garnish into a cocktail shaker.
- Shake with the ice.
- Strain into the prepared Martini glass.
- Garnish with a cherry and dark chocolate shavings.
I was sent a number of products to try by Aldi, I was not paid for this post and was not obliged to write a review positive or negative of these products.
In the past, weekend mornings were a whirl of sports kits and strong black coffee. Now the teens are either at Uni or firmly rooted in bed until lunchtime we can indulge in a leisurely breakfast, read the papers and listen to a radio station of our choice. What to have for this breakfast then?
When the children were little and we were on holiday we would have to book into particular hotels in the US as they were the establishments that had waffle makers available for guests to use in the mornings. The girls loved making the waffles which were then covered in butter and syrup. The waffles set them up for the day and washed down with juice and a big bowl of fruit they staved off jet lag for a while too. Fortunately reasonably priced waffle makers hadn’t made it across the pond so the most exotic breakfast we used to have in this house was the occasional big American pancake.
Not so now…. I picked up this waffle maker at Christmas for under £20. The teens were happy but strangely I was ecstatic. Perhaps we booked those hotels for me too! Since then every so often I get it out and treat myself. As we are coming up to Easter I thought I’d try to incorporate Hot Cross Bun flavours. I have left out the raisins, mainly because I don’t have any but also a burnt raisin can easily taint a dish and I want to enjoy my breakfast.
Hot Cross Bun Waffles – makes enough for 2 to feel full, double quantity for a family.
125 g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
10 g caster sugar
230 ml milk
1 large free range egg
15 ml vegetable oil
few grinds of nutmeg
good pinch cinnamon
good pinch of allspice
grated rind of half an orange
Simple glace icing to serve.
- Place all the dry ingredients into a big bowl, including the spices and orange rind.
- Beat the egg into the milk, add the oil and then pour the wet ingredients into the dry.
- Whisk together gently until just combined. Don’t be heavy handed as the waffles then become dense and chewy.
- Pour into your waffle maker and cook as per the manufacturers instructions.
- Pop onto a place and pipe a cross on the waffles with simple glace icing, if that is too much pfaff then sprinkle of icing sugar and eat.
You know when half way through a tried and trusted recipe disaster strikes. Well that happened yesterday to me. I have made a wonderful fudge recipe from Utterly Scrummy food for families a number of times and it vanishes within seconds of cooling. I had some spare white chocolate and a bag of cranberries so decided to use those this time. Then of course I thought why not go the whole hog and Rocky Road it up with some shortbread crumbs and a few marshmallows.
Knowing I was going to use Michelle’s recipe I asked her if it would be OK to blog it and she graciously said I could.
So why was there a problem in my kitchen yesterday?
The recipe works brilliantly, the flavour combinations are tried and tested, I even remembered to line the tin before starting.
Well, half way through boiling the fudge my trusty sugar thermometer gave up the ghost. I am of an age where I need to put on my reading glasses to read a scale. When the red line vanished I assumed it was “my age” and my glasses had steamed up, but no, the liquid in the tube had split into four distinct parts. Consequently I had no idea of the temperature of the fudge. Yes, I know I could drop a piece into cool water and see if it makes a soft ball, but I’m a scientist by training and I love a gadget! I made a stab at it but I think I was a little out as the final result was a somewhat more grainy than I have had in the past.
It was still devoured though and tastes brilliant so Thank you Michelle at Utterly Scrummy for the inspiration and the recipe.
Please use Michelle’s recipe but I added in white chocolate rather than milk, 75g dried cranberries, two chopped shortbread fingers and a handful of mini marshmallows pressed into the top as the fudge cooled.
Any suggestions for a good, reliable sugar thermometer, because obviously I am now without one.
I am not averse to an alcoholic beverage, I adore chocolate. For some reason however Easter and cocktails doesn’t or didn’t seem an obvious connection. I have to say I am now converted. Thanks to a beautiful hamper of Easter treats and chocolates sent for me to try by Aldi. Aldi’s core philosophy is to offer high quality, brand like products at low everyday prices.
Choc full, pin intended, of both delicious chocolates and drinks I really didn’t know where to start. The student had returned from University so she helped me decide on the “Rabbit’s milk” cocktail which was designed to pair with the white chocolate bunny. I’m not a rum drinker usually but I did enjoy the almost milkshake quality of this drink. The rum didn’t overpower the chocolate rather it cut through the richness. I’m still unsure when eating chocolate animals whether decapitation is kindest or should you nibble them feet first?
Rabbit’s Milk Cocktail.
30 ml Old Hopking Dark rum
30 ml Cocobay White Rum and Coconut
100 ml cold full cream milk
50 ml double cream
grated white chocolate and cocoa powder to garnish.
- Place all the ingredients (except the white choc and cocoa) into a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a tall glass.
- Garnish with grated chocolate and a dusting of cocoa powder.
- Drink whilst nibbling on a Choceur white chocolate bunny (99p)!
I was sent a number of products to try by Aldi, I was not paid for this post and was not obliged to write a review positive or negative of these products.
I have been posting a large number of sweet baking recipe recently so I had planned to redress this a little with a savoury recipe or two. This is a completely unplanned post however as I happened to mention that I was having sweet potato chips for tea and was asked via Twitter for this low GI recipe. Sorry there is only one photo but this is a slightly “on the hoof” post.
Here we go then. Unless you want complaints from the teens buy the sweet potatoes with orange flesh as these look better on the plate. I failed in my parenting duties (again) by getting the white ones.
1 large sweet potato per person. (orange fleshed ones look and taste best according to the teens in this house)
- Pre heat the oven to 220c
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into wedges the size of chip shop chips.
- Drizzle a little oil onto the baking tray, sprinkle the oil with salt and paprika.
- Tip over the sweet potato wedges and toss in the oil and paprika.
- Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
- After 15 minutes turn the chips so that they brown evenly.
Serve as an alternative to chips with any meal. The meal we had was soy glazed chicken, sweet potato chips and steamed kale.
I have added this to the Extra veg blog hop, this is hosted alternatively by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours (this month’s host) and Michelle at Utterly Scrummy. Swerve the spuds and slip in some sweet potatoes instead.
I will make it quite clear from the outset here, no one has asked me to post about UK Coffee Week. Its true I adore coffee. Nothing makes me happier than whiling away an afternoon in a coffee shop with a friend, chatting and most likely gossiping. I am so lucky that I can.
In many, many areas of the world clean water cannot be taken for granted. UK Coffee Week is for everyone who enjoys coffee and wants to give something back to the countries which produce the beans we all love so much.
Project Waterfall in partnership with WaterAid provides safe drinking water, good hygiene and improved sanitation to some of the poorest communities in the coffee growing regions of Africa. They are currently supporting over 8,000 people in Mbulu district in Tanzania.
So this is what I’ve decided to do, I’m reposting a couple of recipes that have coffee as a main ingredient. If you use them could you consider making a small donation to Project Waterfall. Thanks.
My version of a PJ day is to pop on an apron and spend the day in the kitchen baking.
Yesterday was one of those days. The rain cascaded down the windows, wind howled around outside and the teen was watching vacuous movies in the lounge. M was away so I had to make my own entertainment. What’s a woman to do but bake?
The sourdough loaf was cooling on the rack, the pastry for my Australia Day pie was resting in the fridge but I still had some get up and go remaining. The cake tin was empty so a cake it was then. I have been using a number of products from the Sainsburys basics range and this recipe uses their eggs and butter.
A traybake is easier to portion when it comes to packed lunches. I have made the cake before but the icing is a variation of a chocolate fudge icing recipe I use often. The whole thing worked really rather well.
Ingredients – cake
175 g basics butter,
175 g caster sugar,
175 g Self Raising flour
75 g walnuts chopped
3 basics eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsps coffee granules in 1 tbsp boiling water
75 g butter
2 tsps coffee granules in 1 tbsp hot water
250g icing sugar
walnut halves to decorate.
- Preheat the oven to 180c
- Grease and line a 20cm x 30cm tin.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time. If the mixture splits add in a tbsp of the flour at this point.
- Stir in the coffee mix.
- Fold in the flour, baking powder and walnuts until well combined.
- PLace in the tin, level and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cake has shrunk away from the sides of the tin.
- Leave to cool in the tin.
- Make the icing.
- Melt the butter in saucepan and remove from the heat. Stir in the dissolved coffee.
- Beat in the icing sugar a little at a time to prevent lumps and until the icing reaches a thick fudgy but pour-able consistency. Depending on the temperature in the kitchen this may take a little more icing sugar or a little less.
- Smooth onto the cooled cake, mark the lines using the tines of your fork. Decorate with walnut halves.
- Try a test piece with a cup of tea. Fill up your cake tin with the rest.
If there is one thing I love more that a cup of tea it’s a biscuit to go with it. I have recently made my own version of Tunnock’s tea cakes and am very much in favour of a flapjack, but when it comes to something to go with my cuppa I’m very pedestrian. Pass me a custard creme or a Bourbon and I’ll be chuffed to bit. This got me thinking, I could make my own Bourbons. Then I remembered coming across the We should cocoa bloggers challenge. Established by chocolate teapot and chocolate log blog and hosted this month by Lucy at The Kitchen Maid. Lucy chose coffee as her added ingredient. Hhmmm, an idea! What about mocha bourbons, so folks that is what I did.
For the biscuit itself I used the recipe so brilliantly written by Tania at The larger Family life blog. As her family is three times the size of mine I used a half quantity of her biscuit mix. (see what I did there!) This still made me 15 filled bourbons. About a packets worth, and plenty to fill the biscuit tin for a few days. rolling the dough between two layers of parchment paper gave the dough a smooth finish and prevented it from needing to be floured too much, as I find this can make the dough more friable. I used a 6″ ruler, the kind that comes in children’s 99p geometry sets as a template for the biscuits themselves. Each biscuit being 6cm long and a ruler width across.
The filling for the biscuits is simply a coffee butter cream. I used 100g butter, whipped until very fluffy. In a cup I mixed 1 dessert-spoon of instant coffee with 1 tsp of boiling water. Mix well and allow to cool. Whip the coffee mixture into the butter. Add icing sugar until the butter cream is to your taste. I wanted to pipe the mixture so kept the butter creme fairly soft. Pipe a zigzag of butter-creme on half of the biscuits. Sandwich together and leave, if you can. to allow the buttercream to harden.
Put the kettle on, your feet up and treat yourself to a nice cup of tea, a biscuit and a sit down.